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Paxil: weight gain
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Paxil: weight gain

Hi All,
Thanks for this wonderful service!

I have OCD, Panic Disorder & Social Anxiety.  Without medication life is very uncomfortable.  I was on Paxil for 6 months and all my symptoms were greatly relieved.  However, the side effects began to outweigh the benefits.  The side effects were: fatigue, nausea, headaches, loss of libido and inability to orgasm, weight gain and increased PMS.  The fatigue and the weight gain finally caused me to go off the med, I was only able to stay awake about 8 hours a day and I gained about 15 pounds in 1 month.

Question 1:  While on Paxil I was unable to control the weight.  I work out 4 - 5 times a week, eat a very healthy diet, no drinking, and I am HYPERthyroid (not enough to be treated though).  I was very depressed by this out of control weight gain.  Now that I am off the Paxil, will I be able to lose this weight?  I am worried that it is resistant like it was when I was on the Paxil.

I am also looking for advice from anyone out there who has successful strategies for dealing with OCD, Panic & Social Phobia without meds. I have tried other meds (Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Ativan, Klonopin).  I reacted horrribly to all of them.  The Panic really focuses on fear of death, impending sense of doom.  I have an irregular heartbeat (PVC's) that scare the hell out of me and cause me to panic.

I am a little scared now that I am off the meds. Anyone out there going through this or can offer advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

Peace to all,
Christine
Related Discussions
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If you see an association of your weight gain with Paxil, by discontinuing Paxil and continuing your level of exercise and diet, you should see an improvement of your weight. However, if your weight gain persists, I consult your physician to consider other causes of your persistent weight gain.
Anxiety Disorders are also commonly treated with Cognitive-Behavioral therapy without any use of medications. Consult a mental health professional who specializes in this area of treatment.
32 Comments
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Hi Christine, I was on Paxil for about 9 months and I gained 20 pounds, so I know how you feel. I have always been thin, and this was the first time in my life that I was overweight. The good news is that you will lose the weight. I was just as worried as you are. I thought I would stay overweight. I also have a mild form of OCD and I suffer from anxiety and depression. I have just been put on Serzone, and although it is probably too soon to tell, I feel fine. One good thing about it is that it does not have as a side effect, weight gain. From what I have read and what the doctor has told me, it is a drug that works to combat anxiety and depression. I believe studies are being done to see if it is helpful for OCD, panic disorder and social anxiety. Some people claim that it has helped with OCD, etc. You might want to talk to your doctor about it. As for Paxil, I never want to take it again. I have heard too many people say that they have gained between 5 to 20 pounds on it. Good Luck!
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I was on Paxil for 31/2 years, I'm 43 years old and have asked my doctor how I could have gained 30 lbs in the last 2 years...if it was age related or what, since I work out at least 4 days a week for an average of 50 minutes and haven't changed eating habits.  I have 4 friends that have gained not 5 or 10 but from 20-40 lbs and also happen to be on this drug.  I spoke with a psychiatrist who says it's not a symptom, but why on so many of these forums do people mention such astounding weight gain?  This only started after I was on it for a year, slowly, then I put on 10 lbs. in the past 3 months.  I'm slowly going off of it for this reason with the guidance of a therapist and am dealing with the mortifying dizziness and short fuse, but seem to be calming down.  The weight is now affecting my health too much.  I don't understand how drug specialists can't admit this problem.  Anyone?
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Just wanted to confirm your questions about Paxil. I, too, took Paxil initially for depression and anxiety. Gained 50 pounds. I now call it Pack-it-on Paxil. :-) I have been working very hard at losing weight for the last year and have successfully dropped 30 pounds. I too, work out frequently and eat a balanced diet. I am now working out 5 days a week. Currently, I take Zoloft and I like the results.
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I was on Paxil for about a year (This was the second time. The first time I had been traumatized and felt I needed something to help me cope but the stomach upset was so bad that I had to quit a few months later.)and had no side effects until I tried to stop.  My doctor did not know that there would be any problem, however all the pharmacists that I talked to were worried.  One of them even GAVE me a couple to tide me over until I could renew the prescription. I did not renew the "script" for 3 months.  Those three months were horrendous.  My eyes seemed to have a mind of their own and there was a constant "pulsing" in my head and body which I barely controlled using breathing exercises. In any event I became the "***** from h-ll" and had constant panic attacks.  I couldn't stand any pressure and had NO self confidence. My relationship was falling apart and I hated my job. So I went back on it.  This time was completely different again. During th first session with Paxil I had an unbelievably upset stomach all the time and ate food with a vengance.  The second time I took Paxil first thing in the morning with whatever I could find to eat. Now I take Paxil at 1:30pm (so that I can stay up later) and I take it on an empty stomach with 1200 IU of Vitamin E. (That takes away the stomach upset and the insatiable appetite.) The Vitamin E was also extremely helpful combating the side effects when I tried to quit. Additionally, during any of the times I was on Paxil I had no weight gain until I'd quit.  Then I packed on the pounds.  Currently I take the Paxil every other day and I'm on a fairly even keel.
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I was on Paxil for about a year (This was the second time. The first time I had been traumatized and felt I needed something to help me cope but the stomach upset was so bad that I had to quit a few months later.)and had no side effects until I tried to stop.  My doctor did not know that there would be any problem, however all the pharmacists that I talked to were worried.  One of them even GAVE me a couple to tide me over until I could renew the prescription. I did not renew the "script" for 3 months.  Those three months were horrendous.  My eyes seemed to have a mind of their own and there was a constant "pulsing" in my head and body which I barely controlled using breathing exercises. In any event I became the "***** from h-ll" and had constant panic attacks.  I couldn't stand any pressure and had NO self confidence. My relationship was falling apart and I hated my job. So I went back on it.  This time was completely different again. During th first session with Paxil I had an unbelievably upset stomach all the time and ate food with a vengance.  The second time I took Paxil first thing in the morning with whatever I could find to eat. Now I take Paxil at 1:30pm (so that I can stay up later) and I take it on an empty stomach with 1200 IU of Vitamin E. (That takes away the stomach upset and the insatiable appetite.) The Vitamin E was also extremely helpful combating the side effects when I tried to quit. Additionally, during any of the times I was on Paxil I had no weight gain until I'd quit.  Then I packed on the pounds.  Currently I take the Paxil every other day and I'm on a fairly even keel.
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I HAVE BEEN TAKING PAXIL FOR A YEAR NOW, AT FIRST 10 MGS, NOW 20.  WHEN I FIRST WENT ON PAXIL FOR DEPRESSION I NOTICED A WEIGHT GAIN A COUPLE OF MONTHS AFTERWARDS, MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS HOW COULD I HAVE GAINED SO MUCH WEIGHT ALL AT ONCE?  WHICH MY DOCTOR ALSO SAID WEIGHT GAIN IS NOT A SIDE AFFECT!  I WAS MOVED UP TO 20 MGS BECAUSE I GOT INTO A REALLY DEEP DEPRESSION BECAUSE I DID'NT TAKE THEM FOR 6 TO 10 DAYS.  SO MY THERIPST SAID SHE RECOMMENDS TAKING 20 MGS.  WELL NOW I STARTED GETTING NIGHT SWEATS, PAIN IN MY CHEST, WHICH BY THE WAY YOU ARE TO REPORT TO YOUR DOCTOR ANY MUSCLE PAIN.  I DID AND I WAS TOLD IT IS PROBABLY STRESS!  I NOW AM TAKING 1/2 OF MY 20 MGS AND HOPFULLY CAN GO OFF OF PAXIL FOR GOOD.  BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE ANY ENERGY TO DO ANYTHING.  BY THE TIME I GET OUT OF WORK 7:30 TO 5:00, I HAVE TO PUSH MYSELF TO DO ANY THING ELSE.  NOT TO MENTION AT WORK I FEEL TIRED.  I HOPE MY DOCTOR CAN PRESCRIBE SOMETHING ELSE.  I DON'T LIKE THE WEIGHT GAIN AND FEELING TIRED WITH NO ENERGY.  BUT IF I'M NOT ON MEDICINE I GET TO DEPRESSED. IT SEEMS LIKE A KNOW WIN SITUATION?  I'M IN THE NAT'L GUARD ALSO AND HAVE AN ANNUAL PHYISCAL TRAINING TEST ONCE A YEAR SIT-UP, PUSH-UPS, AND A 2-MILE RUN ALL ON ATIMED BASIS.  IT'S COMMING UP IN SEPTEMBER AND I HAVE KNOW ENERGY TO GET OUT AND EXERCISE TO PREPARE FOR THE TEST.  PLUS A SEMI-ANNUAL WEIGH IN, WHICH THE GUARD FROWNS ON PASSING YOUR WEIGHT AND PT TEST.  AND IF THATS NOT ALL IF I WOULD GET KIKED OUT OF THE GUARD FOR NOT PASSING THESE, I WILL LOSE MY JOB.  ANYWAY WHATS A PERSON TO DO?
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I am 22 years old and have been taking Paxil for several years to treat depression. Since the age of 9 or 10 I have been a little heavy. Looking back it was not that bad, but at the same time I was diagnosed with depression. After trying difernent meds including Prozac, my doctor settled on Paxil. It was pretty new at the time. I battled with my parents and doctor over the idea of being on meds for the rest of my life. But I excepted the fact that I was a different person on Paxil. I continued to gain weight during high school which fed my depression. I thought that just how I was to be. As my doctor said "We've accepted the fact that Ashley will never be a "small" girl." I always walked out of the doctors office feeling a lot worse than when I walked in. At this point I am taking 60 mgs a day. In the past 3 years I have gained over 60 pounds. Talk about fueling my depression.The weight gain was not that bad until I went to 40 mgs a day.  I have tried everything to take it off, with no success. FOr some reason I never considered that Paxil was the cause.I always felt I was my fault.  Looking back I see that when my dosage was increased, my weight and lack of energy also increased. My doctor said several times that Paxil was supposed to help with weight loss. I can handle the nausea and other GI problems but I have had enough with the weight gain.  I have heard good things about Serzone and Wellbutrin, I just worry that I won't be able to lose the weight I have spent years packing on. I STRONGLY discourage Paxil !
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I am 25yrs old and have been on Paxil for 15 months.  I was prescribed paxil after a difficult and tumultuous divorce.  Well, since then I have gained 45 lbs!  I have always been a "normal/average" sized person.  I now weigh more than I did the day I gave birth to my daughter!  I am trying fervently to come off of the Paxil but the dizzy spells and confusion are almost too much to bear with a small child, house and full time job!  A friend of mine told me her doctor had prescribed Paxil to her and I strongly advised her NOT TO TAKE IT.  Doctors and the FDA need to start recognizing all of these terrible side effects and warning people about them!  I feel like a drug addict who is dependant on Paxil...wish me luck
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My doctor did tell me upfront that the negative side effect of taking Paxil was weight gain.  But I thought since I knew this, I could control it.  Wrong!  I've been on Paxil for nearly a year (20mg) and I'm working my way off of it at 10 mg every other day for a couple of weeks, then 5 mg every other day for a few weeks.  I just started the 5 mg dosage -- I want the extra weight off.  I had probably gained 20 lbs. - but I did not need to.  Because they made me tired, I took at night before I went to bed - seemed to work fine except for weight.  I am shy but I cannot tell that they gave me a boost of confidence but things didn't seem to bother me as much.
Good luck to you and me!
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I have been on Paxil for almost a year and was not told about any of the symptoms that are described in all your remarks. I am so glad to have found this website, I thought I was going crazy. I too have put on so much wait, at least 40 lbs and have tried everything possible to lose with no success. The reason I was put on Paxil was because I was depressed about being overweight in the first place. When I started taking Paxil I was only 50 lbs overweight, now I am 90 lbs. overweight, more depressed than ever before in my life. I quit taking Paxil on my own "Cold Turkey" as the are saying just two weeks ago. No one told me about what its like to quit taking this horrific drug. I strongly suggest if you are in need of a drug for depression, REFUSE THIS ONE, I can't believe that I was even put on this drug and told so little about its effect on me. I have been extremely dizzy, wierd sounds going on in my head, can't consentrate on anything. My job is very demanding and I feel like I'm going to lose it and my husband if I don't get it together soon. Problem is I don't know what to do. First thing that does come to mind, what I have left of it, is to SUE somebody. Anyone want to join me out there.

My email address is ***@****

Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me and anyone else that has been having these kinds of reactions. I was thinking it was just me.

God Bless You.
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Finally, I found some information about Paxil and weight gain.  I had been wondering for the past year how on earth I've managed to gain 15 pounds when I work out at least 3 times per week doing kickboxing.  I was getting very discouraged to say the least when a lot of my clothes no longer fit me and yet fitness people and others say my weight gain is due to muscle gain from excercising.  The fact remains my clothes do not fit and I'm having to go into larger sizes.  My appetite is out of control and I can't seem to stop.  I feel much better otherwise on the drug with the exception that I don't seem to be able to express my emotions such as laughing and or crying at times when I think I should be able to.  I feel like a bit of a zombie when it comes to that and I'm only on 20mg per day.  I'm seriously thinking about speaking to my doctor about going off the drug and try life without it for awhile.  I know there are a lot of alternative medicines out there for depression and anxiety and I would be willing to try something else instead if necessary.
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I have only been taking Paxil for about 6 weeks and I have already gained 16 lbs.  I have never in my life had an increase in my weight, I have always stayed the same.  I do believe there has to be a connection here regardless of what countless doctors claim.  When I asked my doctor about this, he said that the drug was affecting my outlook on life, including my eating habits, that I was now having a healthier look at food.
I would like to try other antidepressants, as I have found that Paxil IS working for my depression, but am afraid of the side affects of getting off of Paxil.
Plus my doctor says I need to continue it to see how it will work for me in the long run.
Well, good luck to all of you.
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I have been taking paxil for 11 mos and went from a size 7 to a size 14!!  I was taking it for depression, but I wasn't THAT depressed, I don't think.  I'm at 40 mg, but only because I wasn't sleeping well with smaller ones.  Isn't that dumb?  Well, I've decided to go off of paxil.  I hope it all works out.  I'll keep you posted on the weight loss....
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I've been very satisfied with Paxil which I've been taking for anxiety.  However, I've been gaining weight very quickly despite
working out several times a week. I have always been thin.I will stop taking the medicine if this continues.
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I've been on Paxil for over 2 years now. Although I've mentioned to my doc that it makes me gain weight, he blows it off. He's a good doc and I trust him, but after two years and keeping careful notes on my diet and exercise habits, I'm convinced the Paxil does indeed contribute to weight gain...in the 15-20 pound range. We all look for balance -- the negatives vs. the positives in trying to manage our lives. At the end of the day, I think it's time for me to wean myself off Paxil. If I need to be on an SSRI, I'll try others...this weight thing is real, and it disqualifies this drug for this guy.
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knowing the truth about death might lessen the effects of the fear.  i overcame that fear when i was shown from the Bible the truth about that.  they showed me Ecclesiastes 9:5,10..maybe that would help you also. melissa
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I am on Paxil and Zyprexa for OCD, Panic Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder.  I also have body image issues and the Paxail and Zyprexa sure doesn't help (although it helps with my other symptoms)  Without meds, I am unable to function.  However, I too am experiencing weight gain which is causing a lot of panic issues.  I eat right, exercise all the time, and I cannot lose weight, only gain.  I'm scared.  Is this weight gain going to continue?  What other medications can I try?  I am 4'10' and an increase of five pounds looks like fifteen.  What should I do?
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246464_tn?1249455747
10 years on Paxil, I gained 75 pounds.
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Avatar_n_tn
Look up "Gwen Olsen" on youtube or google video.
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When you speak of "they" are you referring to Jehovah's Witnesses? Because I too was shown that scripture and a large host of other ones during a bible study with them about 10 years ago.

Another helpful one is Revelation 21:3, 4 that promises a time where " he will wipe out every tear  from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." What a beautiful hope for the future we have! ~Nicole
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I just started taking Paxil. I've been on it for about 4 or 5 days. You guys are scaring me with all this weight gain. It makes me lose my appitite and dizzy and confused. I dont know. Yeah them pschycoligists just pump you full of pills. I've never been to one of them people before and the first time I went there they put me on Paxil for my anxiety and depression problems. Do you guys know the best meds to take besides Paxil? Help Me Please.........Amber
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I have been off of Paxil for 1 1/2 years and am getting ready to get back on Paxil (or another medication), I can not decide. my anxiety and panic and depersonilization have come back full force and my doctors feel I need to be back on medicine. While I was on Paxil (over 10 years) I gained almost 40 pounds. However, I did not have any other side effects. I never was told about the wait gain until the other day. I am now realizing this was from the Paxil, I am scared to get back on it because I now am back to my normal (actual a little lower then normal) weight. I know I need to be on medicine, however, I am feeling good about my weight again and do not want to gain weight and get depressed about it. My husband said he would rather me have weight gain and have my panic under control, then to be thin and miserable. Also, I see where it is now not safe to get pregnant on Paxil. Is anyone else on another anti-panic med that works? Looking for advice. Also, if anyone has the depersonalization that goes along with this, please give advice how you overcome this horrible experience.
Thanks!!
Minnie
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I have been on Paxil for about 6 years now.  It has helped control the depression and extreme anxiety I used to experience.  When I was not on Paxil, I was so nervous and worried all of the time my appetite was not very big.  When I started taking the medicine I finally had an appetite because my stomach didnt feel as nervous.  I have probably gained about 25 pounds since then but I am a little older now and have a 3 children.  (I did not take Paxil while I was pregnant)  If your symtoms (symptoms) are severe enough, the paxil can really help.  I do not suggest it to everyone.
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Thanks for your comments. I had success with paxil (except for withdrawals), and it seems I have been reading a lot of negative with paxil. I am glad to hear some positive. I took paxil with my first pregnancy and thank god-my baby had no problems. And of course, at the time they said paxil was fine while pregnant. Since then, that has changed.  I need to get back on meds due to extreme anxiety and paxil worked in the past except for the hell I went through getting off (mood swings, anger, etc.). Did you have trouble getting off when you were pregnant? I am looking into other meds (Wellbutin, remeron,zoloft, etc.) but I feel comfortable with Paxil since I know it worked for me in the past and I am scared of side effects with other meds. I want more children but worry about having trouble getting off paxil when I am ready to try for another baby.I also do noto wnt to gain all the weight back. This decision is making me so nervous, I just hope my decision on what med to take is the right one.
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Here's something to consider:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b30iwhEw9ho

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azkLQpyiGHA&mode=related&search=
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After going through a divorce in 2000 my doctor at that time put me on Valium to help me deal with the insomnia I was going through and it worked great.  I was 165 lbs 5-7" and ran 4-7 miles every day and was in the best shape of my life.  I maintained that weight until in 2003 my doctor retired and I was assigned a new doctor who refused to refil my prescription and put me on Paxil CR 12.5mg.  After taking the prescription for only 1 month I gained 10lbs.  I immediately made an appointment with my doctor to find out why this medication was making me gain so much weight.  She wouldn't tell me why but said it does cause slight weight gain so I continued to take the Paxil.  I started to really notice the extra weight when I was jogging so every time I had to see my doctor I would ask her If she could take me off the Paxil, but she refused telling me that the withdrawls would be too intense and that she new it was helping me with my anxiety and insomnia.  As years went by I was jogging fewer and fewer miles because the extra weight was starting to make it impossible to jog.  I went to see my doctor this week for a routine check up and my doctor was so shocked by my weight gain she has just now decided to take me off the paxil.  I now weigh 240lbs and ever since she has put me on the Paxil I have never changed my diet, however I have stoped jogging since it is impossible due to the huge amount of weight I have gained, but I do 4 days out of the week hike 4 miles.  If anybody reads this and is either already on Paxil please get off of it  and anybody thinking about going on it please don't.  In total I have gained 75lbs since starting this drug.
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I was on Paxil for 8 months and gained 20lbs.  I have always been thin and watched what I ate.  Part of my problem is I had an eating disorder that was under control and is now back because of the weight gain.  I quit cold turkey on my own 2 1/2 months ago.  I was very sick in bed for 3 weeks with the side affects.  This was very hard with 2 young boys home with me all day, but we got through it and I feel better than I did on the medicine.  I have only lost 5 lbs and am very frustated more has not come off yet.  How do you lose this weight and how long does it take?  
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I've been on Paxil and Zoloft off and on for about 7 years now and I am well over my weight when I originally started.  For years I've had to battle w/ extreme social anxiety.  I was a size 7 when I started 7 years ago, now I'm size 16.  Noone in my family has a weight problem and that is both on my parents side so it cannot be genetic.  I KNOW it's the Paxil.  Although, I get the same reaction from my doctor too.  She tells me that it "may cause" it but it won't hinder me from losing weight as long as I exercise and eat right.  I have been and no results.

Has anyone else had a problem with sweating too?  
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I have been off Paxil for about 1 1/2 yrs. now and have gone from a size 10/12 to a size 4. I was on Paxil for 12 years and could not understand why I went from weighing 110 to weighing almost 140. I thought it was because I was getting older and my eating habits. Well, since I have been off of Paxil, my weight has drastically dropped (I am now 104). It took over a year, but it was not until a few weeks ago when I went to my internist because I was worried about my extreme weight loss. I did not start losing weight until being off Paxil for about 8 months or so. Anyway, he told me he thinks the reason I am losing so much weight is because of my anxiety and my being off of Paxil. Once I started thinking about when I started gaining weight and when I started losing weight, it all made sense. Anyway, my anxiety has come back full force and I have to go back on meds. Well, I tried Remeron (just a half dose) and it made me a zombie (sp?) and I felt drugged. I am now going back on Paxil since I know it worked (except for the weight gain and side effects getting off), but I know it helped me. My doctor recommended I try Paxil CR and it might not have as much of the weight gain effect. Does anyone know if there is a difference between Paxil and Paxil CR and the side effects?
Thanks for listening to me. :o)
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I have suffered from panic attacks for 17 years.  The attacks had come for only periods at a time, so up until recently, I had only been taking 10mg for 6 month periods, stopping when I felt the episode was over.  About two years ago, I began taking it full-time due to increased and more regular attacks after becoming quite ill.  In the last two years, I have packed on 40+ uncomfortable lbs, going from a fit size 6 to a size 12, while losing my libido and a bit of my personality.  My GP also dismissed my concerns, so I thought it was age related and/or related to the birth control pill I was taking.  Feeling increasingly unhappy about my lack of control over my weight gain, I ceased taking Paxil and Birth control pills three months ago and consulted the web and a Naturopathic Dr.  I found out that even after one stops taking medications, residue can linger in one's liver for up to 2 years...medications are "unnatural" and therefore the liver can't clear them out of your body as it would something organic which is why losing the weight takes so much time.  I've also read that Paxil affects one's "full" signals and slows down metabolism.  I am now working with my ND on cleansing my liver of the residue and getting my body into a healthy, balanced state.  There are naturopathic and homeopathic remedies that help quash an attack, if needed, without lingering in your system.  However, my ND has been able to pinpoint my body's imbalances (problems with my Adrenal glands, that are responsible for regulating the "fight or flight" repsonse to stress-sound familar, anyone??) and we are working on getting me back in "working order."  Once that happens, I am looking forward to getting my old body back and to controlling panic attacks without drugs.  I would recommend seeing an ND to anyone.  With an ND, I get one hour of preventative, pro-active health care.  With a GP, I get 5 mins, a band-aid prescription and 40 lbs....
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I have been taking Paxil CR for 8 years. I was always naturally what everyone called "too thin". I have gained 25 lbs. but I don't know that it is due to the Paxil since I am 8 years older and have had 3 kids. My biggest complaint is fatigue. I do not know if that is Paxil related either but my doctors have ruled out everything else. I want to wean myself off of it but am afraid of the side effects.
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